A rain soaked final stage brought the Abu Dhabi Tour to a close and it was Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) who sprinted to victory. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Mark Cavendish finish 2nd on the line with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) rounding out the podium. Rui Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi) won the race overall.
The final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour was once again contested over 26 laps of the Yas Marina F1 circuit, which gave riders a total distance of 143km to race. It was said that Abu Dhabi only gets 5 days of rain per year, but today was one such day. The peloton rolled off under the lights of the magnificent raceway as the rain fell relentlessly.
6 riders braved the water and broke away early on. The peloton was intent on keeping them close so that a sprint finish would decide the stage. Some teams even had an eye on the intermediate sprints which offered up a few bonus seconds, and so before the final sprint prime at 25km to go, the race was all together. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, it was the final sprint to decide the stage winner that was our main focus.
After losing Daniel Teklehaimanot after stage 1, Igor Anton also had to abandon today meaning we were slightly short staffed going into the final sprint. The Yas Marina circuit has quite a technical finale with a number of chicanes in the final 3km. Our African Team found it difficult to link up initially but with 3km to go, Bernie Eisel, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Mark Renshaw and Cavendish were all together.
Our sprint quartet was playing catch up to Orica-Scott just before the twists and turns began though, and it was always going to be hard to come by them before the last right-hander at 200m to go. With Ewan in 2nd through that last corner and Cavendish in 5th, it was always going to be Ewan today despite our Manxman’s fast finish. By placing 2nd this evening, Cavendish was able to ensure he won the sprinters green points jersey overall, thanks to his victory on stage 1 and 3rd place on stage 2.
Roger Hammond – Sport Director
We came here to open our World Tour account. We got the victory on the first stage and took the leaders jersey which was really satisfying. We also took home the green jersey which was a nice surprise at the end of the week. Taking more than that though, being early season, what wanted to do was create a cohesive unit. I am really pleased with how the guys performed together at this early season race. The guys can go home proud of their display and how they supported each other in trying to achieve our goals.